Both unqualified and qualified buyers can enter an outbound sales process.
Without a clear understanding of the verticals and personas you contact, you risk losing control over performance and creating inconsistent results.
Who you target ultimately creates the success (or failure) of your sales outcomes.
The solution is clarity: Target specific types of buyers for good reasons.
Are you targeting the right sales leads for your business?
To identify the best accounts to target and the best stakeholders to contact, you should create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to clearly define the type of customers you want.
What is an ICP?
Outbound sales gives you the freedom to choose the specific potential customers you want to prioritize. However, your targeting strategy needs to be purposeful.
An Ideal Client Profile or Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a clear description of your ideal target account based on specific characteristics, behaviors, and use cases.
An ICP dives down into the type of companies that would be a good fit for your business, including their buying process, stakeholders, and organizational structure.
These profiles provide visibility into how ideal accounts purchase solutions in your space and enable you to target specific buyer personas within these organizations.
How Do You Identify Ideal Customers?
Every deal or renewal is won (or lost) for a reason.
While your team and sales process can affect these outcomes, the type of buyer and their specific situation has a major impact on their success as a customer.
ICPs can often be forward-looking and used to target customers of the future. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore lessons from past selling experiences.
A great first step to understanding your ideal buyer is to do customer research on your existing sales pipeline, current customer base, and previous customers.
For example, certain industries might generate larger deals, require more support, or have lower renewal rates. Specific personas might close the deal faster or slower.
Use the insights from happy customers and bad experiences to help guide your ICP.
Why Is It Important To Have a Proper ICP?
Having a proper ICP is important because it allows you to segment your audience and identify your best customers. This enables you to focus your marketing and sales efforts on those who will actually benefit from your offering.
Some of the benefits of creating an ideal customer profile include:
- Accelerating the sales cycle: According to the latest LinkedIn State of Sales Report, 44% of respondents reported that their sales cycles have increased.
- Enhancing marketing personalization: McKinsey found that the fastest-growing companies generate 40% more revenue through personalization.
- Increasing customer lifetime value (CLV).
- Facilitating Account-Based Marketing.
A well-defined ICP can also improve personalization and the overall customer experience, leading to more successful deals when all parties are satisfied.
It is particularly important for account-based marketing (ABM) and targeting enterprise customers, especially in B2B marketing, as it allows marketers and stakeholders to understand the institutional needs of their target market.
In conclusion, having a proper ICP is important because it helps you target the right customers, personalize your marketing efforts, accelerate the sales cycle, increase customer lifetime value, and improve the overall customer experience
How Do You Create an ICP?
Customer research and team discussions will reveal a variety of useful insights to help you clearly define your ideal customers.
An ICP is a collection of relevant characteristics, patterns, or behaviors that can help your team distinguish the potential fit of a target account.
What attributes do your best customers share? What factors created bad customers or lost deals?
A basic ICP could include the industry, company size, departments, technology usage, or specific solutions provided by an ideal customer. Other examples could include a target account’s budget, business objectives, pain points, and buying factors.
With the right set of ICP characteristics, you’ll have a clear vision of your ideal customer and why they’re a good fit specifically.
ICPs Need Team Alignment
Marketing, sales, customer success, and other front-facing departments each have a unique perspective on your customers.
How do you know you identified the right traits for your ICP?
To finalize your ICP, you should review the information with your team and get feedback to build context around your insights.
Hearing personal experiences with customers before, during, and after the sale can help ensure your targeting characteristics make sense.
From there, you should align around the best set of characteristics to use in predicting great customers.
Make Your Targeting Strategy Measurable
It’s hard to sustain a targeting strategy when it’s not measurable.
If you don’t create an ICP with measurable characteristics, it can become difficult to target new buyers and understand what drives performance.
By separating the performance data between one buyer persona and another, it’s easier to compare, hypothesize, and test for the best targeting strategy.
Measurability allows you to optimize your outbound messaging for any target audience while also gaining insights into how leads compare to one another in the sales process.
There is no easy answer to targeting buyers because customer expectations, competitors, and selling environments continue evolving.
Constant change means your outbound sales performance will degrade if you don’t clearly define your target buyers and keep your targeting strategy up-to-date.
With an Ideal Customer or Client Profile, you can align your team around a clear vision for the type of customers you want to reach.
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